Explore Sochi

Sochi Travel Guide

Home to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Sochi is nestled in the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and stretches 90 miles (145km) along the coast of the Black Sea, the longest city in Europe. Referred to as the 'Russian Riviera', Sochi boasts an inviting subtropical climate, pebbled beaches, lush forests, botanical parks, waterfalls, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, and a world-class skiing resort close by - not your typical Russian city. Famed for its sulphur springs and boasting over 200 health spas, including the world-renowned Matsesta, Sochi is more than just a healthy holiday destination. Every summer the elite of Russia descend upon Sochi for the annual film festival, 'Kinotavr' along with two million other visitors who come to enjoy this vibrant season. During the winter, Sochi sees a slew of tourists making their way to the nearby ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana, which is set to host a number of events of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Home of tennis ace Maria Sharapova and Stalin's favourite dacha, the city of Sochi offers visitors great skiing, hiking and sailing opportunities. Any trip here will be a memorable and relaxing one.<br /><br />

Agura Waterfalls

Address: Sochi

Also known as Agursky, the Agura waterfalls are one of the most famous tourist attractions in Sochi. Located just outside the city, these majestic waterfalls that cascade from a height of 98 feet (30m) are a popular stop off along this popular hiking trail in the area along the Agura Ravine. The term 'Agura' means river or stream in Ubykhian. At the Eagle's Rocks hikers can enjoy the view of the crystal clear waterfalls crashing down to the oval pool below and enjoy the panoramic views over the city and Black Sea below.<br /><br />

Sochi Dolphinarium

Address: House 219 / 2, Lenin Street, Adler Sochi

Admission: RUR 300 (adults); children under 6 are free. Open daily 10am-6pm. Closed weekends.

Telephone: +78622452798

The Dolphinarium (also known as the aquatheatre) is a popular tourist attraction for families visiting Sochi. The Dolphinarium's daily performances featuring aquatic life such as dolphins, white whales, killer whales, sea lion and seals is a favourite with both young and old.<br /><br />

Sochi Art Museum

Address: 51, Kurortny pr, Krasnodar area Sochi

Admission: Open for pre-arranged tours only.

Built in 1936, the Sochi Art Museum is a work of art to look at. The classical architecture lends the relatively small museum a grand and ornate look. The museum's works tell stories of Sochi's history, such as the picture 'Italy' by Isaac Izrailevich Brodsky which is connected to the history of the health resorts. The works are constantly changing to display the art of some of Russia's greats as well as local artists.<br /><br />

Matsesta Spa

Address: Sochi

Matsesta, meaning 'fire water', has harnessed the powers of the hot sulphur springs that have become synonymous with Sochi and become the city's most renowned health spa. The water contains over 27 types of minerals and is used to treat people with respiratory and cardiac problems. Featuring a number of bathing rooms, massage tables and inhalation cubicles, Matsesta Spa is a major tourist attraction.<br /><br />

Dagomys

Address: Sochi

<br /><br /> Located just outside of Sochi, the small village of Dagomys is a popular holiday resort on the Black Sea coast. The former haunt of Russian nobility in the 19th century, the holiday residence of Tsar Nicholas II is still standing, having been converted into a large hotel.<br /><br /> The scenic village boasts lovely pebble beaches set against the dramatic backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains, and visitors can tour local tea plantations and the mineral springs of Matsesta. Dagomys is a paradise for outdoor activities, including hiking and bird-watching in the Dendrarium Botanical Gardens.<br /><br /> Summers in Dagomys are noticeably cooler than other coastal areas due to mountain air currents, earning the village its name, which means 'a cool and shady place' in the Adyghe language. While Dagomys is not as lively as nearby Sochi, the resort's quiet and relaxing atmosphere makes a great weekend getaway.<br /><br />

Dombai

Address: Sochi

<br /><br /> One of the more popular ski resorts in the Caucasus region, Dombai is a scenic mountain valley located at the confluence of three rivers 37 miles (60km) from the Black Sea coast. Famous for its pure air, Dombai is frequented mostly by Russian holidaymakers, lending it a unique and lively atmosphere.<br /><br /> The facilities at Dombai are old and fairly worn, but there is a tourist complex comprising 12 hotels and a recreation and sports centre. Five lifts and three ski trackers operate on a pay-as-you-go riding system serving varied pistes that cater for all levels of skiers. The gentle slopes near the top of the mountain are better suited to beginners, as the incline becomes very steep toward the bottom.<br /><br />

Gelendzhik

Address: Sochi

<br /><br /> The laidback seaside resort of Gelendzhik has been around for several millennia, having been founded as a Greek outpost around 64 BC. The town is set along a curving bay with calm pebble beaches ideal for swimming and watersports, and land-based activities like horseback riding, quad biking, hiking and others are available.<br /><br /> Gelendzhik is best known for its spa and waterparks, and there is a cable car line specially-built for tourists to take in the scenic views from the top of the mountain. A new airport opened in 2010, making it easy to get to Gelendzhik from Moscow and St Petersburg.<br /><br />

Krasnaya Polyana

Address: Sochi

<br /><br /> Set 1,968 feet (600m) above sea level, Krasnaya Polyana, meaning 'red meadow' is fast becoming the most popular ski resort in Russia. Skiers and snowboarders here can enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the West Caucasus.<br /><br /> Located just 25 miles (40km) from Sochi and the Black Sea coast, Krasnaya Polyana is sometimes called the 'Russian Courchevel" for its well-groomed pistes, good après-ski nightlife, and high prices. The resort owes much of its popularity to its excellent heliskiing opportunities, however there are good runs for beginners.<br /><br /> The resort is currently undergoing massive construction and renovations ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as it will host many events. Olympic facilities located in Krasnaya Polyana include the Russian National Sliding Centre (luge bobsleigh and skeleton), Psekhako Ridge (biathlon, cross-country skiing and Nordic combined), Roza Khutor Alpine Resort (Alpine skiing and snowboarding), Alpika Service Mountain Resort (freestyle skiing), and Russian National Ski-jumping Centre (ski jumping and Nordic Combined).<br /><br />

Kinotavr Film Festival

Where: ,Sochi

When: 7 - 14 June 2015

Every year the rich and famous of Russia descend upon the resort city of Sochi for the annual Kinotavr film festival, one of the biggest events on the calendar. Featuring the works of Russian and international artists from directors and scriptwriters to actors and directors of photography, the festival honours those making a contribution to Russian cinema.<br /><br />

2018 FIFA World Cup

Where: Nationwide,Sochi

When: 2018 TBA

Russia has been awarded the 2018 Football World Cup, and will soon start developing the 16 ultra-modern football stadiums across 13 host cities it promised in its ambitious winning bid. "We go to new lands," Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, said as he unveiled the winner. The event will force Russia to modernise much of its transport infrastructure and relax its strict visa requirements, both to the long-term benefit of tourists to the country. It will also need to address its local footballs fans' well-earned reputation for violence and xenophobia.<br /><br />

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